Re: Hivemind

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...a unique partnership -- of military scientists and entomologists....

Next on Syfy: Octohornet vs. Sharkterpillar.


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 10- 9-10 3:06 PM
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Americas cell phone towers were at one point blamed for this bee death thing. I think they are owed an apology.


Posted by: Spike | Link to this comment | 10- 9-10 3:47 PM
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Also, I blamed Mexicans. I'm sorry.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 10- 9-10 3:51 PM
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Está bien, Moby. ¡No te preocupes!


Posted by: Los mexicanos | Link to this comment | 10- 9-10 3:54 PM
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I thought it was Jesus coming to take the ones he loved home (which all turned out to be bees).

What rough beast, indeed.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 10- 9-10 4:00 PM
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I was kinda holding out hope that WASPs were to blame.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 10- 9-10 4:23 PM
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Maybe I've been too hasty on other issues. It is possible the Guatemalans haven't been responsible for all of the frog deaths.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 10- 9-10 4:24 PM
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OR SO THE GUATAMALANS WOULD HAVE YOU BELIEVE...


Posted by: OPINIONATED FROGS | Link to this comment | 10- 9-10 4:35 PM
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8: So they are acting Guatemaliciously?


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 10- 9-10 4:39 PM
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Speaking of wasps killing bees, I recall seeing a video of some wasp (hornet?) sitting outside a hive and biting the head off every bee leaving. I think this a was somewhere in Asia.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 10- 9-10 4:52 PM
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Sadly, the news came too late for Brian Dorian's victims.


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 10- 9-10 5:40 PM
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Seriously, the guy kills a 17 year-old kid. Acts like a crazy person to his neighbors. And he's been on leave for a year with a bum shoulder (which apparently didn't prevent him from continuing to ride his motorcycle). And it's surprising that he went apeshit and killed people? No, what's surprising is that he wasn't smart enough to just shoot some black kid in the back like the rest of them do.


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 10- 9-10 5:49 PM
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You seem to know about some other conversation in this thread that is opaque to, at least, me, Natilo.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 10- 9-10 6:12 PM
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At the least, 11 makes for an awkward segue.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 10- 9-10 6:15 PM
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'Cause he talked to the farmer about bees, and then shot him.


Posted by: E. Messily | Link to this comment | 10- 9-10 6:23 PM
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12: After the revolution, Natilo, I assume you'll be in favor of an exacting and draconian regime for the assessment of public employee disability claims?


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 10- 9-10 6:31 PM
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The article in 15 had me staring at the address "32652 Stony Island Ave." and being confused for way too long before reading the rest of the sentence.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 10- 9-10 6:38 PM
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17: I don't follow. Why's that?


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 10- 9-10 6:40 PM
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18: People who have lived in Hyde Park will understand. ("Chicago has a 326th Street now?")


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 10- 9-10 6:44 PM
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It's unclear whether Dorian knew police were honing in on him, and whether he planned to flee.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 10- 9-10 6:44 PM
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19: Ah.

Hey, speaking of bugs, you know what's more unsettling than counting seven stink bugs on your living room ceiling? Coming back a half hour later and counting only one.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 10- 9-10 6:48 PM
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21: Heh. I'll see your living room ceiling and raise you a bathroom with 4 stinkbugs on the walls (2 in the shower), and none half an hour later.

But that was two weeks ago. You've been setting them FREE, haven't you, Stanley?


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 10- 9-10 6:54 PM
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You've been setting them FREE, haven't you, Stanley?

Uh, about that initiative...


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 10- 9-10 6:57 PM
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Warm days yesterday and today have brought back a mini-infestation--we killed ~30 today in jars of rubbing alcohol.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 10- 9-10 6:59 PM
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20: I can't remember which horse I backed on that one. I only remember Sifu won or outlasted everybody or something.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 10- 9-10 6:59 PM
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Jesus. I've only killed two stinkbugs in the last week. I guess I'm lucky. Or geographically well-situated. (There was a particularly annoying one that kept flying into a light fixture at high speed in a colleague's office the other day.)


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 10- 9-10 7:10 PM
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||

The Dinesh D'Souza op-ed in the Washington Post yesterday is truly a piece of work.

Carry on.

|>


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 10- 9-10 7:11 PM
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27: The photo in the print edition was different, too, and for some reason added extra annoyance.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 10- 9-10 7:19 PM
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And hacktastic editor for the ages Fred Hiatt had his defense ready: I approved publication of this Op-Eed. D'Souza's theory has sparked a great deal of commentary, from potential presidential candidates as well as from commentators on our own pages. Sure, Freddy baby.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 10- 9-10 7:27 PM
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Is it any worse than the original Forbes piece? (btw. anyone else ever notice how the Post always talks about needing to present all viewpoints when stuff like this happens, but somehow that wide spectrum policy doesn't apply to seriously left wing ones, let alone wacko extremist left wing crap)


Posted by: teraz kurwa my | Link to this comment | 10- 9-10 7:27 PM
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28: Oh, jeez.

I don't mean to thread-jack; I understand that unfogged isn't politically inclined these days. Certainly the op-ed has gotten coverage in a number of places, as did the original Forbes piece by D'Souza. I'd avoided actually reading the op-ed, but I must say that having now done so, I'm appalled at Fred Hiatt, the editor of WaPo's editorial page. Newt Gingrich's op-eds are bad enough, but for god's sake. What's the deal? The culture wars aren't proving fruitful enough, so now we're moving on to economic warfare?


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 10- 9-10 7:32 PM
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...somehow that wide spectrum policy doesn't apply to seriously left wing ones, let alone wacko extremist left wing crap.

Left-wingers are usually killjoys. That D'Souza guy is a riot.*

* Seriously, have you ever seen a picture of him? He looks like someone ordered the Full Poindexter, With Optional George Will Disapproving Simper.


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 10- 9-10 7:34 PM
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31 before seeing 29 and 30.

I really don't get it, for the Washington Post, though: are they trolling for readers? Desperate?


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 10- 9-10 7:35 PM
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Thread-jacking is the colonialism of the internet. Parsi is Cecil Rhodes.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 10- 9-10 7:35 PM
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I'm appalled at Fred Hiatt, the editor of WaPo's editorial page

Par for the course. Actually I was kind of shocked that they printed this; twenty more like it and none opposing it and they might start to make up for their track record.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 10- 9-10 7:38 PM
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30: Is it any worse than the original Forbes piece?

Actually, I'd say yes. The Post presumably gets a wider readership than Forbes; they're essentially disseminating this narrative.

Hiatt's reference to the interest of potential presidential candidates is kind of funny: are we going to see Republican candidates contorting themselves to explain why "anti-colonialism" is bad?


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 10- 9-10 7:42 PM
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Wait, what? The Washington Post editorial page is a horrible swamp of hacky shittiness presided over by one of the world's great dipshits? When did this happen? Oh, right, well over a decade ago.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 10- 9-10 7:42 PM
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Next up: Gore may have won Florida!


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 10- 9-10 7:42 PM
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Is it any worse than the original Forbes piece?

Is it any different at all? I ask that in all earnestness, because one of the apparently inviolable policies of the WaPo op-ed page is that all submissions must be submitted exclusively to them.

How do I know this? Funny you should ask. I had a piece accepted by them some years back. They sent me a statement I had to sign that declared, among other things, that the piece had not been submitted to any other outlet. In my case, it had. (If I had only known...) Mind you, it never appeared anywhere else. I had merely submitted it simultaneously to another publication. Fred Hiatt himself told me on the phone that he wished he could run the piece, but it was not compliant with policy.


Posted by: Kwithanr | Link to this comment | 10- 9-10 7:44 PM
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37: In fairness, this piece did stand out as particularly bad. But then I reserve a special category of stupid for anything by Dinesh D'Souza, after unwittingly attending a post-9/11 lecture by D'Souza as a wide-eyed college sophomore. The title was "Why They Hate Us" (the answer? BECAUSE WE'RE FUCKING AWESOME!!!).


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 10- 9-10 7:47 PM
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I don't want to start an indie-cred-measuring contest, but I recall my father (a daily reader of the NYT and WSJ) calling the WP "an embarrassment, which is saying something when you're talking about a city in a swamp," during the George H.W. Bush years.


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 10- 9-10 7:48 PM
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The title was "Why They Hate Us" (the answer? BECAUSE WE'RE FUCKING AWESOME!!!

Later changed to 'BECAUSE WE LET OUR WOMEN AND GAYS FUCK'.


Posted by: teraz kurwa my | Link to this comment | 10- 9-10 7:51 PM
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BECAUSE WE LET OUR WOMEN AND GAYS FUCK

But if you don't allow either of those, fucking options are going to be pretty limited.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 10- 9-10 7:57 PM
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39: That's rough. Mine was refused because they insisted they won't give a submission a fair chance if it has jam stains on it.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 10- 9-10 7:59 PM
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I reserve a special category of stupid for anything by Dinesh D'Souza

...beginning with his breakthrough work, Illiberal Education, in which he granted absolution to any white people who think all darkies look alike, on the grounds that he, a South Asian, used to have trouble telling one white girl from another.


Posted by: Knecht Ruprecht | Link to this comment | 10- 9-10 7:59 PM
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39: So the op-ed was tailor-made for the WaPo. That's not a surprise, really.

37: Of course they've sucked for a long time, but this (on top of a few other pretty egregious op-eds in the last year or two) is notable, as Stanley says. Never mind the stuff about "anti-colonialism," the hand-waviness about the nature of Obama's policies -- with the final paragraph about his determination to confiscate wealth -- is irresponsible.

Yeah, yeah, I know.

We must shun them!


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 10- 9-10 7:59 PM
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My father was fed up with the Washington Post in the Carter Administration. So there.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 10- 9-10 7:59 PM
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fucking options—how do they work?


Posted by: Insane Clown | Link to this comment | 10- 9-10 8:01 PM
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43: Sez you.


Posted by: Opinionated Zoophile | Link to this comment | 10- 9-10 8:01 PM
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they won't give a submission a fair chance if it has jam stains on it.

Jam stains? C'mon Moby, you're among friends here, you don't need to hide behind euphemism and circumlocution.


Posted by: Knecht Ruprecht | Link to this comment | 10- 9-10 8:03 PM
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Circumlocution reduces the pleasure experienced by men making jam stains by as much as 30%.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 10- 9-10 8:04 PM
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47: I, on the other hand, had to convince my mom that the WaPo was superior to the Richmond Times-Dispatch, and she now subscribes to the WaPo on Sundays. So, you know, different strokes.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 10- 9-10 8:05 PM
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Is it any different at all?

The parts where he refers to BO Sr. as a savage drunken African appear to have been removed.


Posted by: Todd | Link to this comment | 10- 9-10 8:06 PM
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52: Stanley, you gotta convince her that the NYT is superior to the WaPo. You can do this.

I mean, unless she's interested in more regional news, which is possible, after all.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 10- 9-10 8:09 PM
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The parts where he refers to BO Sr. as a savage drunken African appear to have been removed.

In the daily newspaper op-ed format, space constraints dictate that minor points in the argument be jetisonned.


Posted by: Knecht Ruprecht | Link to this comment | 10- 9-10 8:10 PM
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54: She checks the NYT online regularly, I think. In any case, seeing that home-delivered Sunday WaPo on her kitchen table was a great personal victory (if for no other reason than my more conservative dad occasionally picks it up). A home-delivered Sunday NYT, if even possible in suburban Richmond, VA, would likely be prohibitively expensive for them.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 10- 9-10 8:16 PM
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Were there sections in the Forbes article in which he argued for the (extremely) socialistic aspects of BO's policies? Or was that just taken as a given there as well? I really don't want to read the thing myself, and am hoping someone who has can tell me.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 10- 9-10 8:16 PM
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56: Yeah, that's cool. I get it. I probably wouldn't mind the WaPo much if it weren't for the op-ed page.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 10- 9-10 8:19 PM
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40: attending a post-9/11 lecture by D'Souza as a wide-eyed college sophomore.

I once attended a debate between Distort D'Nouza and that one older Jewish liberal guy, you know, Bernard something? It was around the time of the Gulf War, and I was a shifty-eyed high school sophomore. Mostly I went to get out of class. D'Souza was not a very impressive debater. Still, he is objectively pro-jihadist, so I guess he can't be all bad.


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 10- 9-10 8:21 PM
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parsimon, I'm not really seeing what's worse about the economic claims in D'Souza's op-ed than other things the Post prints on an almost daily basis. Here's George Will lying by saying that Obama wants to raise taxes on couples like a high school principal married to a police officer.

The thing that seems distinctive about what D'Souza writes, versus what Will or Krauthammer write in the Post all the time, is that D'Souza thinks he can get away with being blatantly racist because his skin is brown, while they work a little harder to encode their racism in dog-whistles.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 10- 9-10 8:31 PM
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As slimy as I feel having read the D'Souza link, I'm more angry that the NYT published this ex-Bush official cheerleading for indefinite detention:

The real lesson of the ruling, however, is that prosecution in either criminal court or a tribunal is the wrong approach. The administration should instead embrace what has been the main mechanism for terrorist incapacitation since 9/11: military detention without charge or trial. Military detention was once legally controversial but now is not.

How adorable. It was once legally controversial, but now it's not. So nice we got that straightened out.


Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 10- 9-10 8:31 PM
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In fairness, though, the military detention would only last "until the conflict with Al Qaeda ends".


Posted by: Mr. Blandings | Link to this comment | 10- 9-10 8:35 PM
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You know, 40 years from now, it's going to be commonly accepted by everyone to the left of the John Birch Society that Al Qaeda never really existed. Or, alternately, as with the conspiratorial actions on the part of the S. Koreans and MacArthur during the run-up to the Korean War, it will be so completely forgotten as to be a revelation even to well-educated people.


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 10- 9-10 8:39 PM
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60: parsimon, I'm not really seeing what's worse about the economic claims in D'Souza's op-ed than other things the Post prints on an almost daily basis.

I'm thinking chiefly of this segment from D'Souza's op-ed:

Just in case the point is unclear, Obama Sr. insisted that "theoretically there is nothing that can stop the government from taxing 100 percent of income so long as the people get benefits from the government commensurate with their income which is taxed." Absurd as it seems, the idea of 100 percent taxation has its peculiar logic. It is based on the anti-colonial assumption that the rich have become rich by exploiting and plundering the poor; therefore, whatever the rich have is undeserved and may be legitimately seized.

There is the suggestion that !! Obama will take 100% of your income if you don't stop him !!

Will and Krauthammer are obnoxious, but they don't go that far.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 10- 9-10 8:42 PM
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that Al Qaeda never really existed.

You're suggesting it's all Saddam Hussein?


Posted by: teraz kurwa my | Link to this comment | 10- 9-10 8:42 PM
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63: ?


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 10- 9-10 8:45 PM
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66: See? Moby's already forgotten about Al Qaeda.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 10- 9-10 8:46 PM
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Oh, yes, how could I have forgotten? Entirely reassuring, that.

I was thinking today how utterly ancient I felt in college when people seemed so sure that history was a story of continuing progress. Granted, I was wrong about some of the domains -- I honestly did not think we were going to regress to the point of nationally endorsing torture, indefinite detention, and assassination of US citizens without trial.


Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 10- 9-10 8:46 PM
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68 to 62. And Natilo gets it exactly right in 63.


Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 10- 9-10 8:47 PM
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You're suggesting it's all Saddam Hussein?

Saddam Hussein working arm-in-arm with Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, obvs.


Posted by: Mr. Blandings | Link to this comment | 10- 9-10 8:49 PM
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It's late, so maybe I'll google the Korea thing tomorrow. But, I'd bet that Al Qaeda is about as forgotten 40 years from now as Pearl Harbor was in 1990.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 10- 9-10 8:49 PM
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63, 69: Seriously? What does "Al Qaeda never really existed" mean? Of course there was at some point a group of terrorists led by Osama bin Laden and calling itself al Qaeda. There are lots of claims I would find plausible, like "the name al Qaeda is now used by many independent people and networks unconnected to the original al Qaeda", or "most of the people the US has accused of being connected to al Qaeda were not", or any number of other things along these lines, but "al Qaeda never really existed" doesn't make sense to me.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 10- 9-10 8:52 PM
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Al Qaeda exists in the sense that there are people who would say "I am a member of Al Qaeda". But it doesn't exist in the sense in which the phrase and idea are generally used in the discourse, that is, an enormously powerful, centrally-organized underground terrorist organization which operates through a hierarchical structure and plans and executes a cohesive set of actions of political violence.

There just isn't any such thing.

Yes, there are some guys in Yemen. And some guys in the mountains in Afghanistan and Pakistan. And a hell of a lot of disaffected engineers in London and Patterson and Kuala Lumpur and wherever who like to plot things in internet chat rooms. But the idea that this forms a unified whole, a world-historical individual that is ready and willing to challenge western capitalist hegemony is just absurd.

These aren't the days of the Cold War. Even the Cold War wasn't really all it was cracked up to be. The people who want you to believe in Al Qaeda are the same people who wanted you to think that The Manchurian Candidate was a documentary. It serves their interests.

The September 11th attacks were carried out with razor blades for the price of a couple of new sedans. Not with Stinger missiles or even a few measly ounces of Semtex. This whole mythology around Al Qaeda is just an attempt to resolve the contradiction implied by the knowledge that our lives are simply commodities in industrial society. We have become thoroughly reified, and it doesn't take a gigantic conspiracy with world-encompassing tentacles to make that apparent -- just a few guys who can outthink some bureaucrats on a good day.


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 10- 9-10 8:58 PM
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Echoing essear's question(s). The idea is that we'll have become so combative, or militaristic, or totalitarian, that we won't even remember what started it all?


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 10- 9-10 9:00 PM
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The September 11th attacks were carried out with razor blades for the price of a couple of new sedans.

Really?

Plus the cost of several first class tickets, years of training, however much reconnaisance was necessary and... well, you see my point, yeah?


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 10- 9-10 9:01 PM
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Having seen 73 now, ah. Hm.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 10- 9-10 9:01 PM
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But, I'd bet that Al Qaeda is about as forgotten 40 years from now as Pearl Harbor was in 1990.

Or as forgotten as September 11th was by Thanksgiving 2001.


Posted by: Knecht Ruprecht | Link to this comment | 10- 9-10 9:03 PM
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I echo Natilo's 73.1, 2, and 3.

I'd bet that Al Qaeda is about as forgotten 40 years from now as Pearl Harbor was in 1990.

September 11 will be as forgotten 40 years from now as Pearl Harbor was in 1990. Al Qaeda will be a trivia answer.


Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 10- 9-10 9:03 PM
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Omit 75, really.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 10- 9-10 9:04 PM
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73: Well, sure, it's not SPECTRE. But it is, or at least was, a terrorist organization, not some guys who were talking on 9/10/01 and realized they all had similar ideas.


Posted by: Mr. Blandings | Link to this comment | 10- 9-10 9:04 PM
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the cost of several first class tickets

Sorry, pet peeve. All they needed was credit cards to charge them on. They were dead by the time the bill came due.

This was repeated a lot after the attacks took place, with stories calculating the dollar amount that the terrorists would have needed, and I could never figure out why the news people couldn't separate the two.


Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 10- 9-10 9:05 PM
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73: an enormously powerful, centrally-organized underground terrorist organization which operates through a hierarchical structure and plans and executes a cohesive set of actions of political violence.

Not "enormously powerful", and maybe not totally centrally organized, but the September 11 attacks required at least some organization, money, and planning. And the effects were pretty damned powerful. I mean, I agree with you to the extent that it only takes a fairly small number of people and an amount of money that's small on corporate scales (but large on the scale of, say, my bank account) to carry out such attacks.

But the idea that this forms a unified whole, a world-historical individual that is ready and willing to challenge western capitalist hegemony is just absurd.

Well, yeah, it's batshit insane. Do lots of people really believe this? (I am Pauline Kael.) The right-wing definitely seems to get a lot of mileage out of conflating "willing" with "able", I guess. "These people want to wipe you off the map!" isn't so scary if these people are lacking resources.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 10- 9-10 9:06 PM
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Specifically with regard to Iraq, the idea that anyone who would take up arms to defend their country against a foreign invader must perforce be a dangerous lunatic bent on imposing a fanatical regime upon the world is ludicrous beyond belief. Ferchrissakes, even the Poles fought back when they were invaded. The Poles. The same people who hadn't even had a country for more than 20 years out of the previous 300. Even they could find the patriotism necessary to hide out in the woods and cellars and carry out attentats and acts of sabotage. And yet we're supposed to believe that the only possible way that there could be a viable insurgency in Iraq is through the manipulation of one old Saudi-Yemeni madman who lives in a fucking cave? A couple of thousand miles away?

And yet this fairy tale, this Santa Claus myth for mall ninjas is what serious journalists and statesman all agree is the truth. I just don't know sometimes. I really don't.


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 10- 9-10 9:07 PM
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The fact that those who did 9/11 called themselves Al Qaeda is enough to ensure the name is remembered.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 10- 9-10 9:08 PM
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Do lots of people really believe this?

The US government's court filings and public statements certainly seem to imply that quite a number of our civil servants and their supervisors believe it.


Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 10- 9-10 9:08 PM
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even the Poles fought back when they were invaded.

German tactic and ideology are sufficient explanation. Soviet tactics also.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 10- 9-10 9:13 PM
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Confidential to 83: Sometimes I really love you, man.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 10- 9-10 9:14 PM
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84: I admire your idealism, Moby, but I remember all those polls that say Americans can't reliably identify whether it was Germany or Japan or some other country entirely that bombed us at Pearl Harbor, and I'm sticking with my original contention. They're going to be a trivia answer.

And I say that even believing that there will still be purported AQ members locked up, 31 years from now (i.e., 40 years after the attacks).


Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 10- 9-10 9:16 PM
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82: Not "enormously powerful", and maybe not totally centrally organized,

Well, then, what are we really talking about when we use the term "Al Qaeda"? If it's not enormously powerful, or centrally organized, then what is it? A disparate collection of individuals and small groups who are using this phrase (or having it applied to them) as a flag-of-convenience, a way to claim an idea that (they perceive) fills their enemies with dread. Ideologically, some of the people being tagged with that name are barely even fellow-travelers of Osama bin Laden. They happen to have roots in the same part of the world, but that's it.

I could start a terrorist organization called The Fluffy Bunny Brigade tomorrow, do one successful action, and have a dozen Fluffy Bunny Brigade cells forming by noon the next day. Wouldn't mean I was particularly formidable, but you don't really hear about the terrorist groups that never get off the ground because the first person they talk to is an FBI agent, do you?


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 10- 9-10 9:16 PM
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even the Poles fought back when they were invaded. The Poles. The same people who hadn't even had a country for more than 20 years out of the previous 300.

The Poles, whose dominant political figure in the interwar period had spent the decade before WWI organizing violent attacks on the Russian occupiers; who had launched major uprisings in the 1790's, 1830's, and 1860's and a bunch of other minor ones in the 120 years of Partition (not three hundred); uprisings which formed the core of Polish national identity. I guess you could have written 'even the Pashtuns'...

As far as the Iraqi insurgents, there's no contradiction between 'dangerous lunatic bent on imposing a fanatical regime (on his own country)' and the inevitability of an uprising motivated by a mix of patriotic fervour, outrage at occupier atrocities, and sectarian resentment.


Posted by: teraz kurwa my | Link to this comment | 10- 9-10 9:19 PM
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Note: I have no intention of carrying out any violent action against any person, or any act of property destruction whatsoever. The preceding has all been for informational purposes only.


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 10- 9-10 9:21 PM
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89: Yeah, I'm not disagreeing with you. I guess what I mean by "al Qaeda" is the specific group that perpetrated 9/11, not the people calling themselves "al Qaeda in Iraq" or the people the US government called "al Qaeda in Iraq" or anyone else. I see your point, I just think your original phrasing as "al Qaeda never really existed" isn't very clear.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 10- 9-10 9:21 PM
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89 Al Qaeda was enormous and enormously powerful by the standards of terrorist organizations. Thousands of active members, well organized, well funded, well armed with many successful attacks. These days it is partly a franchised nom de guerre and partly a faction within the broader armed radical Islamist movement in Pakistan and Afghanistan.


Posted by: teraz kurwa my | Link to this comment | 10- 9-10 9:23 PM
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90: Also, I don't actually have anything against the Poles, who fought very heroically on the several occasions you mention. But come on, Iraq? The cradle of civilization? Homebase of all those caliphs? With a ginormous population of seasoned military veterans and young men with no job and heads full of big ideas? And easy access to lots and lots of weapons? How could there not be an insurgency?


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 10- 9-10 9:24 PM
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93: Yes and it had the active support of an actual state.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 10- 9-10 9:28 PM
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93: I'm pretty dubious about that "well-organized" bit. Compared to who? The IRA? The ETA? The maquis? How many major international actions has Al Qaeda done? Like, directly at the behest of OBL? The fuck-ups in the Baader-Meinhof Group had more luck.

And the thousands of members? Sure, a lot of people went through a training camp or two -- running around in the hills and firing off AK-47s -- but jesus, how many people have done the same thing under the aegis of the PLO or Hezbollah? Tens of thousands at least. But where are these hard-bitten cadres of Al Qaeda? A few of them are mooching around in the NW Frontier Province, a few more are probably holed up in safe-houses in Cairo or wherever. But most of them probably went home to their families and are praying that Ahmad down the street doesn't turn them in for the bounty.


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 10- 9-10 9:33 PM
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'young men with no job and heads full of big ideas'

Not much in the way of good career prospects for a Pole in Poland in the early forties, and like I said, all raised on a steady diet of hero worship of various doomed insurgents. Far fewer weapons, on the other hand, plenty of middle aged folks with both military and conspiratorial experience.


Posted by: teraz kurwa my | Link to this comment | 10- 9-10 9:35 PM
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||
Apropos of nothing, but remembering that heebie post about people preferring one gender of baby over the other, an acquaintance related this piece of homespun wisdom to me today: "When you have a boy, you only have one penis to worry about."
||>


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 10- 9-10 9:38 PM
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Unless that boy is George Washington.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 10- 9-10 9:41 PM
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They had thousands of active members fighting on behalf of the Taliban, many thousands more who had been through their training camps. They carried out successful major attacks on the African embassies and on the Cole. And yes, they were pretty damn well organized. The RAF on the other hand were a couple dozen knuckleheads. As far as Hezbollah goes, I'd say that unlike al Qaeda they're primarily a domestic group, rooted in the local population and concerned with their own power, and that of their sectarian base, rather than a multinational expatriate organization based on ideology. Ditto goes for the IRA, but with a greater focus on terrorist style attaks as opposed to conventional warfare. The maquis was your standard issue anti-occupier national insurgent movement.


Posted by: teraz kurwa my | Link to this comment | 10- 9-10 9:42 PM
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Who will fight for us? Kobe?


Posted by: The bees | Link to this comment | 10- 9-10 9:43 PM
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Dammit.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 10- 9-10 9:43 PM
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40 years from now, it's going to be commonly accepted by everyone to the left of the John Birch Society that bees never really existed.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 10- 9-10 9:44 PM
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"When you have a boy, you only have one penis to worry about."

OH, YOU'D LIKE TO THINK SO.


Posted by: OPINIONATED AUGUSTINE WASHINGTON | Link to this comment | 10- 9-10 9:45 PM
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Is it unpatriotic to pwn George Washington's dad?


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 10- 9-10 9:56 PM
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98: You can worry about your own penis regardless.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 10- 9-10 9:56 PM
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105: YES IT IS, LAD. AT LEAST YOU'VE BEEN A RELIABLE STEWARD TO THE OLD CHERRY ORCHARD.


Posted by: OPINIONATED AUGUSTINE WASHINGTON | Link to this comment | 10- 9-10 9:59 PM
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94: Natilo, are you suggesting that the narrative here in this country is that the only reason the Iraq, erm, engagement hasn't gone well is because al Qaeda was interfering there?

I'm not sure that's really been the story. Notwithstanding the fact that the occasional person in the US is inclined to confuse any brown-skinned person with Al Qaeda, aka the boogie-man.

---

I have to agree with Teraz. And whether Al Qaeda will be remembered 40 years from now has nothing to do with whether they've been a threat now; cf. Witt's reference to those who don't know who bombed Pearl Harbor. The American people can't remember a damned thing regardless.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 10- 9-10 9:59 PM
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Cryptic:

Do bees have a penis if not how do they mate?

Yes. Morgan Freeman.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 10- 9-10 10:00 PM
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100: thousands of active members fighting on behalf of the Taliban,

So they were a political tendency within the context of a much larger civil war.

They carried out successful major attacks on the African embassies and on the Cole.

So, like, four, would be the answer to my question. Two of which were basically standard-issue truck bombs, like the one Nichols and McVeigh put together pretty much on their own. And the Cole was just a truck bomb with a boat instead of a truck. Yes, it's somewhat impressive that they managed to get lots of TNT together without arousing too much suspicion, but TNT's not all that hard to get.

Re: ETA, IRA, maquis and others

Well, maybe those aren't precisely the best groups to compare the original Al Qaeda set-up with. Although I think there are definite parallels with the maquis vis-a-vis France tacitly harboring them, their participation in WWII, etc. Clearly OBL has a conceptual framework for his activities that's a little bit different from other similar groups, but what is that supposed to prove? The Tupamaros and Sendero and FARC all had very different strategies and tactics from one another, despite their many similarities. Even the various urban guerrilla groups in their respective western countries in the '60s and '70s were distinct. My point with the comparison wasn't to equate the groups, but to point out that the level of coordination exhibited by OBL's version of Al Qaeda has been met and exceeded many other times in recent history. And often without a backer with the strength of either the Taliban or the ISI.


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 10- 9-10 10:05 PM
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83.last: And yet this fairy tale, this Santa Claus myth for mall ninjas is what serious journalists and statesman all agree is the truth. I just don't know sometimes. I really don't.

Not many of which actually *believed* it. Sure, they wrote and spoke as if they did. Now that is its own damning statement of course.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 10- 9-10 10:13 PM
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Teaching. I'm not sure how much I should slack of on the preparation. At the moment each lecture is taking 2-4 hours. Seems like too long. Thoughts?


Posted by: W. Breeze | Link to this comment | 10-10-10 5:34 AM
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The Times has a puff piece on P@m Atlas this morning, I see. So that's nauseating. It makes no mention of her many, many straight-up hateful and racists claims, mentions a couple silly/absurd ones as "outrageous," and says only that liberal Media Matters takes issues with some of her statements and tried (and failed) to get tv producers not to book her. I eagerly await their sure-to-be forthcoming lifestyle pieces on vicious anti-semites and Klan members. (Seriously, it mentions her support of the EDL, says that there are some photographs of EDL members wearing swastikas, but that Geller claims any such persons are surely plants. This is, you know, an easily reportable subject.)


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 10-10-10 6:33 AM
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113: Good lord. I'm only 1/3 through it and my blood pressure's up.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 10-10-10 6:59 AM
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But this was kinda funny:

Rich Davis, a founding member of their group, likened her to the lead singer who made the Who's challenging music popular.

Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 10-10-10 7:01 AM
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Apparently Pammycakes herself said of the piece: "nasty ... fallacious ... full of lies from beginning to end ... a vicious hit piece."


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 10-10-10 7:25 AM
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The American people can't remember a damned thing regardless

Gah. This sort of thing reliably gets my hackles up. Surely other nations have blindspots, too?


Posted by: di kotimy | Link to this comment | 10-10-10 7:53 AM
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117: Yeah, many countries don't actually fare too well on these types of polls, so that bottom-feeding newspapers have easy stories they can write bemoaning the fate of the youth today, etc. (See the Daily Mail or the Telegraph.) It's just that in this country, the fun is joined by ostensible lefties who enjoy saying, "OMG Americans are so stupid!" So much so, in fact, that they make things up like "They had to change the title of The Madness of King George III to The Madness of King George, otherwise Americans will think they missed the first two!"


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 10-10-10 9:08 AM
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The version of "Americans are especially stupid!" that gets me is when, say, Kenyans point out* that the typical Kenyan knows much more about the US than the typical American knows about Kenya.

Which is true. But how much does the typical Kenyan know about El Salvador? Probably about as much as the typical American. So there.

*to me, on a trip


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 10-10-10 9:13 AM
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From the comments on the Times' Geller piece:

The first time I met Ms. Geller was at a peace demonstration in central park. She wanted to meet Cindy Sheehan and take a picture with her because she "really admired the woman". I introduced them and Cindy, gracious and warm as always, put her arm around her for the picture Geller claimed to want. Geller than stuck up her middle finger in front of Cindy's body, where Cindy couldn't see it. She proudly posted this picture of herself giving the finger to the mother of a lost United States soldier. Classy lady that Pam, classy lady.

Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 10-10-10 10:50 AM
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117: Sorry, I just saw this. My remark reflected the fact that we were talking about the U.S. and the response of the nation to the 9/11 attacks, the construction -- in Natilo's view -- of a phantom demon other by the name of "Al Qaeda", and so on. I don't see what the blindspots of other nations have to do with it, unless you want to introduce anti-Muslim sentiment overall. I don't see what the point of "but other people are stupid too" is.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 10-10-10 1:18 PM
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119: The problem isn't that Americans don't know very much about other countries and their charming local customs, foods and reasons for targeting noncombatants; it's that we don't care at all.


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 10-10-10 1:25 PM
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121: I think Oudemia more or less explained in 118 exactly what I'm complaining about. "Americans are so stupid!" grates because plenty of other cultures are equally "stupid." It's a bit like saying "black people are so lazy!" No doubt there really are a lot of lazy back people -- just as there are a lot of lazy white people and Asians and Latino/as. I, frankly, just don't buy "we don't care at all" given how many of us quite obviously do.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 10-10-10 2:19 PM
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Also, your comment -- "The American people can't remember a damned thing regardless" -- seemed to go a good bit beyond "the repsponse of the nation to the 9/11 attacks, the construction -- in Natilo's view -- of a phantom demon other by the name of "Al Qaeda."


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 10-10-10 2:24 PM
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Okay, I give up.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 10-10-10 2:25 PM
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Okay!


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 10-10-10 2:31 PM
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119: El Salvador is a country of 21 thousand square kilometers and 7.1 million people with a per capita GPD of $3,718 without cheating or $7,442 using the PPP method. Its currency is the U.S. dollar because its old currency caused too many stupid jokes about colonoscopies. The largest political parties are ARENA and FMLN. The former name has nothing to do with why they fought something called "La guerra del fútbol" and the later name is not an acronym for "Fix My Life Now." They weren't the one with the bananas (at least not exported 'a el norte' in large numbers).

And we don't even have an Wikipedia, so you know I knew all of this without a reference.


Posted by: Opinionated Keynan | Link to this comment | 10-10-10 3:27 PM
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Who's Keynan?


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 10-10-10 3:40 PM
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Curse you iTouch.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 10-10-10 3:44 PM
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And does anyone know how big the archives of Hyperbole and a Half are? I started reading them and I'm not sure I'm capable of stopping partway.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 10-10-10 3:44 PM
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I rejoin the argument with Di and, apparently, Oudemia, if only to point out that I did not say that Americans are stupid, but rather that they can't remember a damn thing. This has nothing to do with some ostensibly lefty move to make shit up about how stupid Americans are, but goes toward the kind of manipulation of political narrative -- a rewriting of history -- that allows such things as:

- claiming that TARP (the bank bailout) was Obama's initiative, which erroneous claim is feeding popular resistance to his administration

- claiming, as some Republican leader or other did not very long ago, that Obama started the war in Afghanistan

- and of course, in keeping with the discussion upthread of Al Qaeda, that Saddam Hussein was responsible for 9/11.

Good grief. Are we are not allowed to notice polls of the American citizenry that seem to show, time and again, that it is absurdly confused on these matters? The status of other nations in this regard is not relevant. I have no idea where defensive replies are coming from.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 10-10-10 5:09 PM
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The American people can't remember a damned thing

This is really not a controversial statement.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 10-10-10 5:53 PM
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132: Why do you hate America?

P.S. I'm sad about the death of Philippa Foot, inventor of the trolley problem.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 10-10-10 6:00 PM
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Sort of OT but to 132: What is this "Associated Content" site that keeps coming up higher in Google searches? I've gotten their links a half-dozen times in recent weeks, and they've been consistently medicore-to-lousy.

I've made my reluctant peace with the fact that both NY Times articles and Wikipedia come up higher in GoogleRank than they "should," but this AC business is really making me question Google's priorities.

More on-topic, I often wonder what a less "Gotcha" version of those cultural literacy phone polls would look like. I bet it would make us all feel happier and more optimistic about our fellow citizens.


Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 10-10-10 6:31 PM
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I bet it would make us all feel happier and more optimistic about our fellow citizens.

Probably not. The clear majority of people don't know anything that isn't primarily affective. That is, they know if they like or dislike Obama and they know if they like or dislike TARP. From those two points, they'll "know" who to blame for TARP or credit for TARP. (And TARP had a bipartisan birth, so there is plenty of confusion to work with if somebody wants to spin it.) There is some evidence that the top 25% or so have some kind of ideological consistency to their views (i.e they will realize that if you support smaller government and more Medicare, this is at least a contradiction that you need to explain).

Only the smallest sliver of the top know details. This sliver is people who get paid to remember this stuff, the kind of dull civic-minded bores that make high school civics an endurance test, and huge nerds who somehow picked "politics" instead of fantasy league baseball or WoW.

(You'll notice in 71 that I gave an assessment of the relative prominence of Al Qaeda in 50 year, not anything absolute.)


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 10-10-10 6:45 PM
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134: Associated Content is a self-publishing platform from Yahoo. It's more of a press release outlet than a journalism source.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 10-10-10 7:07 PM
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134.last: I often wonder what a less "Gotcha" version of those cultural literacy phone polls would look like.

I don't know what the Gotcha version looks like, actually. I've read Apo's first link in 132, and the link there to what I thought would be the actual poll questions doesn't seem to provide them. I may be missing it there.

Moby is right, though, and I'll probably get over being called a huge nerd.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 10-10-10 7:09 PM
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131: To be fair, Oudemia has not ventured into an argument with you and I'd rather not drag people in.

As for your overall point, the examples you cite strike me as having less to do with the memory of the American people and more to do with the relative ease of transmitting false narratives via our media outlets. It's not that Americans don't care or don't retain information. It's that a great deal of the information we have access to is unreliable. And, sure, better information can be found with a little effort. But not all Americans have the luxury of leisure time spent trying to track down or cross-check better information.

Part of my "defensive" reaction traces to repeated annoyance at German spouses and inlaws who considered America bashing good sport. We're all fat! And stupid! And prudes! But more important, I think, accepting the "Americans don't care/remember/pay attention" narrative seems to gloss over the deliberate misinformation that gets circulated.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 10-10-10 7:24 PM
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136: I thought Associated Content was an even lower form of life than that: one of those sites that cobbles together borrowed or stolen text containing popular search terms in order to attract hits without any real effort to make any sense or serve a real purpose.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 10-10-10 7:24 PM
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A.C., of course, is the "content farm" recently acquired by Yahoo; it pays writers a pittance to crank out brief items that are -- as I've written -- crafted not to beguile human readers but to charm Google's algorithm.

That is from this article from Salon bemoaning how effectively Associated Content was able to promote its own article on the scandal following Laura Schlessinger's defense of the racist profanity. The Salon writer includes this quote from the Associated Content story.

The Dr. Laura n-word backlash made her quit her radio show. It seems the Dr. Laura n-word controversy has made her pay the price, as the consequences of herbrought down her long-running program. But even if it ended her show, it may not end her career.

The passage makes no sense accept as an attempt to place the words "Dr. Laura" and "n-word" near each other as often as possible.
Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 10-10-10 7:36 PM
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138.1: You did that at 123, and, I agree, shouldn't have.

138.2: Yeah, I almost added a paragraph about the power of the mainstream media, our weak-willed reliance upon it, and so on. But then I was about to invoke Emerson, who'd be raging and fuming by now.

But look, to say that it's not the people's fault that they're being fed misinformation and are helpless to do other than believe it is somewhat childish, no? Or rather: we've infantilized ourselves as a polis.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 10-10-10 7:45 PM
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141.1: Um, no. I cited her comment in 118 as a expressing the idea I was getting at well. It does. The suggestion that I "shouldn't have" pointed to that comment is ridiculous.

141.3: Um, no, I don't think it's childish. The ability to look beyong mainstream media is, in fact, a luxury of the privileged. Seeking out alternative media takes time and resources which quite a few Americans don't have.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 10-10-10 8:01 PM
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Or rather: we've infantilized ourselves as a polis.

Compared to the great glory days of civilization when everyone was well-informed and exercised good critical judgement? Oh wait—that never happened.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 10-10-10 8:03 PM
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The problem with this discussion is that there are at least three different levels of stupid at play:

1) Stupider than most
2) Stupid enough to bring ruin upon yourself and anyone associated with you
3) Stupid enough to annoy the fuck out of me.

Thinking that Americans fall into category (1) is just another moronic form of American exceptionalism. But I think we can all agree that America falls into categories (2) and (3).

I think the dominance of the human species on this planet has largely been a matter of failing upward.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 10-10-10 8:15 PM
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Seeking out alternative media takes time and resources which quite a few Americans don't have.

I think the average American watches something like 3-4 hours a day of television.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 10-10-10 8:17 PM
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So you're telling me that the exercise of good critical judgment is not a desideratum? Since people have not historically been capable of it? Or what?

(Realize, I do take your point, but I'm not yet willing to give up the notion that we should, should, get past willful manipulation of our opinions, and put a fair amount of energy into it. "We vote stupidly, or not at all, because we just can't tell what's what" is really not an excusable option.)


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 10-10-10 8:19 PM
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146 to 143.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 10-10-10 8:20 PM
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144.last: Until the raccoons get guns.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 10-10-10 8:20 PM
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"Until"—HA!


Posted by: The Raccoons | Link to this comment | 10-10-10 8:22 PM
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148 s/b "get more guns".


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 10-10-10 8:23 PM
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repeated annoyance at German spouses and inlaws who considered America bashing good sport.

And for when the NY Times goes with the theme of American prudery versus European sophistication:

Correction: October 9, 2010

A picture caption accompanying an article on Friday about a former Duke University student who wrote a mock thesis about her sexual experiences incorrectly paraphrased comments from Lukas Zidella, a German exchange student. Mr. Zidella said he was amazed that Americans so casually publish very personal details about themselves on the Web; he did not say that such an incident would have been no big deal in his own country.


Posted by: md 20/400 | Link to this comment | 10-10-10 8:24 PM
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I think the average American watches something like 3-4 hours a day of television.

I gotta think the tween demographic is skewing the curve there.


Posted by: | Link to this comment | 10-10-10 8:24 PM
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149: I've said too much. I won't go out in the woods today.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 10-10-10 8:25 PM
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And so to bed. Good night all.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 10-10-10 8:29 PM
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(I meant to post this earlier)

135, 137: The general format for poll questions is either multiple choice trivia ("What country bombed us at Pearl Harbor? Germany, Japan, Italy, Poland"), open-ended trivia ("What year did World War II begin?") or open-ended limited-answer trivia ("Name two of the rights mentioned in the Bill of Rights").

This format biases the test in favor of right/wrong and easily scorable answers. Frankly, I'm not very interested in whether my fellow citizens know that John Roberts is the current chief justice. That kind of information is almost always going to be irrelevant to daily life, easy to look up, and mostly the province of people who like to geek out on it.

In contrast, I have never seen a survey that asked people questions such as "What can happen if Congress passes a law that some people think is unconstitutional?" or "What might be a reason that the Founding Fathers listed freedom of religion in the very first amendment to the Constitution?" I'd be a lot more interested in those results.


Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 10-10-10 8:35 PM
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"What can happen if Congress passes a law that some people think is unconstitutional?"

A pretty standard knowledge question is to ask which brand of government determines the constitutionality of a law.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 10-10-10 8:43 PM
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155: I figured that's what you were talking about. Essay questions as opposed to multiple choice. The former tell you a great deal; the latter do, though, tell you whether people think that we went to war in Iraq, thereby spending untold billions (trillions? where's the counter?), because that country is responsible for 9/11.

I can't discount the value of the multiple choice format for any number of purposes: this is not just trivia.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 10-10-10 8:45 PM
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146 So you're telling me that the exercise of good critical judgment is not a desideratum? Since people have not historically been capable of it? Or what?

No, I'm just saying that I don't think the people of America today are notably more ignorant or less critical than the (non-elite) people of any other place or time. Which isn't to say I wouldn't like to see an improvement, just that calling for one is asking a lot. Despite the giant structural difficulties in achieving it, I think a reformed media that exercises critical judgment and doesn't distort the truth is more within reach than a populace that can exercise good critical judgment when the media is systematically feeding them distorted information.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 10-10-10 8:48 PM
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A pretty standard knowledge question is to ask which brand of government determines the constitutionality of a law.

Yes, and that framing paralyzes people back into their petrified third grade selves. OMG OMG is it executive or legislative? Wait, no, it's the other one!

Ask it the other way, and you're a lot more likely (I hypothesize) to get people going, "Well, you can sue..." You can do an interview that allows people to reason their way out loud, which is almost guaranteed to lead them to a more thoughtful answer than the quiz-show format.

Multiple choice questions have their place, but they're basically a screwdriver. And nowhere near every piece of metal in the world is a screw.


Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 10-10-10 8:55 PM
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On the other hand, Witt, woo, Phillies, hook 'em!


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 10-10-10 9:02 PM
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I meant to say "branch of government" not "brand."

As for asking people open-ended questions where you ask them to detail their thoughts, that only works for the kind of people who can ace the multiple choice question. For everybody else, you have too feed them so much, it gets hard to tell what is from them and what is from the person asking the questions. Plus, it costs much, much more and isn't nearly as replicable.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 10-10-10 9:02 PM
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158: Understood.

1. Reform the media.

2. ?

3. Victory!

Or swap 1 and 2. So ... what about that FCC lately? What about media conglomeration, and corporate ownership, and antitrust regulations? Actually, is there anyone out there focusing on these issues (from a legal and regulatory perspective) who's not just foaming at the mouth?

I know there must be. I am not a lawyer. Also also, why are the majority of large-scale liberal monies going not to media reform? I guess it takes a hell of a lot to take on Rupert Murdoch or GE.

So I guess there's no way to break up the monopolies owning the major networks-cum-magazines-cum-newspapers.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 10-10-10 9:08 PM
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Moby, I would argue with you from my grand perch of "I've done eight zillion qualitative interviews in my life, and besides, replicability is not the be-all and end-all of the world," but it's true that I've never done any on politics. Plus...the Phils just won! I'm too happy to pick on someone unlucky enough to live in the wrong end of the state.


Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 10-10-10 9:13 PM
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162: Yeah, I wish I had an idea. We could... write liberal blogs? Throw rotten vegetables at Fred Hiatt's office window? I dunno.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 10-10-10 9:17 PM
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163: I've done mostly quantitative stuff, but some was qualitative. Much of it was in politics. When you deal with something that isn't very salient, you need to worry very much about reproducibility as weak opinions are very easy to sway. The only very strong opinion I have heard was from a Serbian immigrant and his opinion ("what's a few Bosnians more or less?") was ugly. You can learn a great deal from a good qualitative interview, but you can't study mass politics (except the really loaded stuff like race) that way.

P.S. Go Phillies.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 10-10-10 9:26 PM
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Talking about trivia, useful knowledge, and blogs, The Orange One has a current post up on the difference in views between the 18-29 year olds and the rest of the population. There's a trivia annoyance in the calling of the '65+' category 'Greatest Generation', since the youngest of the GG cohort is turning 86 in two and a half months I'm pretty sure they're currently only a fairly small minority of that group. The real knowledge problem is that they mostly don't address the question of to what extent the difference between 18-29 year olds and the rest of the population is due to the fact that they're a lot less likely to be white.


Posted by: teraz kurwa my | Link to this comment | 10-10-10 9:32 PM
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one of those sites that cobbles together borrowed or stolen text containing popular search terms in order to attract hits without any real effort to make any sense or serve a real purpose.

The best of these ridiculous sites is "Newser" which actually tries to justify its existence, complete with insanely vapid editorials and commentaries by the brilliant Scott Adams and Henry Blodget.


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 10-10-10 10:32 PM
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Congrats, Witt! I had a lot of fun watching the sad losers around here last night, but that's because I have neither team spirit nor a soul.


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 10-11-10 7:15 AM
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I think a reformed media that exercises critical judgment and doesn't distort the truth is more within reach than a populace that can exercise good critical judgment when the media is systematically feeding them distorted information

Yes. This. And it seems to me there is a better shot of pushing that reform by decrying the media outlets that happily spread the lies about Iraq's involvement in 9/11 than by decrying the people who naively bought into that narrative. There's a reason the right-wing gets so much mileage denouncing "liberal elitists."


Posted by: di kotimy | Link to this comment | 10-11-10 7:37 AM
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reformed media

Why believe this? Since WR Hearst, a race to the bottom and possibly a political agenda suiting media owners has been a great strategy. Murdoch and Berlusconi are both living examples. There are better choices (the free alternative weeklies in big cities), but most people simply prefer to avoid unpleasant news.

In Europe, responsible print media are mostly money-losing arms of either a political party or some philanthropy. There's simply not much of a profit motive for providing well-written news, business news excepted. This absence of a profit motive is the fault of the audience (since the sliver of an audience interested in bad news exists and is being served), and this is true outside of the US as well.

So why believe in press reform from the top, especially since media are now even less profitable than a few years ago?


Posted by: lw | Link to this comment | 10-11-10 7:55 AM
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a reformed media that exercises critical judgment and doesn't distort the truth is more within reach

How? Such outlets exist, and their relative size and reach are a clear indication that the market for them is marginal.

the right-wing gets so much mileage denouncing "liberal elitists."

That's because they're telling people what they want to hear. Are we supposed to believe that the commentariat here is more elitist (by any reasonable, non-circular definition of elite) than the BoD of The National Review or Fox News?


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 10-11-10 7:56 AM
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Pwned.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 10-11-10 7:57 AM
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And a cheerful good morning to all.


Posted by: lw | Link to this comment | 10-11-10 7:58 AM
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Only an elitist could be cheerful this morning.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 10-11-10 7:59 AM
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Public Service Announcement: I believe that The Corner gets comments today. Which should be fun.


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 10-11-10 7:59 AM
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Today is Columbus Day and I still have a huge cold. All I need is a Native American to sneeze on.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 10-11-10 8:00 AM
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Small pox blankets are totes elitist.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 10-11-10 8:03 AM
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175: oh sweet christ.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 10-11-10 8:03 AM
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And I say that as an elitist.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 10-11-10 8:06 AM
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Now say it like Señor Wences.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 10-11-10 8:08 AM
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171 How? Such outlets exist, and their relative size and reach are a clear indication that the market for them is marginal.

I only said "more within reach". It sounds a lot more feasible than getting hundreds of millions of people to start thinking for themselves in the absence of such media.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 10-11-10 8:18 AM
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171.2: I just think we play right into that when we grumble about the idiot rubes who follow Fox News.

As for the smaller, truthier media outlets. Is their limited size and reach a result of a limited market or of the fact that it's incredibly difficult to compete against a near monopoly?


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 10-11-10 8:19 AM
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Is their limited size and reach a result of a limited market or of the fact that it's incredibly difficult to compete against a near monopoly?

Fox News seemed to manage it somehow.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 10-11-10 8:20 AM
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Maybe we should create "Unfogged: the Public Access Cable Program."


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 10-11-10 8:21 AM
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What we need is a publication full of hard-hitting objective journalism written by puppies and sold by cheerful orphans. Blow this deal wide open.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 10-11-10 8:23 AM
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Fox News seemed to manage it somehow.

I suspect giant piles of money were involved. Have any of those lying around?


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 10-11-10 8:24 AM
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186: you never know what leaf-raking might reveal.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 10-11-10 8:25 AM
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181/182: So what's the alternative plan? I don't see the viable path to a reformed media.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 10-11-10 8:27 AM
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Speaking of fall things, maybe I'll go get some deocrative gourds.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 10-11-10 8:28 AM
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What if everybody worked together to create a whole network of free online news and opinion sites that would aggregate and promote unbiased reporting as well as pointing out opportunities to help progressive causes and -- hopefully, eventually -- doing real investigative journalism, breaking stories about the misdeeds of those in power? That would bring down Fox News in no time!


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 10-11-10 8:29 AM
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190: Add in some perky blond women and you might have something.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 10-11-10 8:31 AM
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188: set up $100m endowments in ten major cities with the role of owning and running independent newspapers along Scott Trust lines.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 10-11-10 8:34 AM
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There's a long New Yorker piece about Nick Denton who runs Gawker and who used to be a real journalist that's apropos and quite good.

I agree that scolding is not productive, but the most accurate description of media is pretty unflattering. Personally, I try to stay quiet unless provoked by zany statements about press reform from the top down.

Losing money by the barrel on serious news has been tried, repeatedly.


Posted by: lw | Link to this comment | 10-11-10 8:35 AM
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I believe that The Corner gets comments today. Which should be fun.

Why aren't liberal monies paying for a few really indomitable trolls? Take back the media, people!


Posted by: Populuxe | Link to this comment | 10-11-10 8:44 AM
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189: Speaking of fall things, maybe I'll go get some deocrative[sic] gourds. "When the weather's hot and sticky that's no time for dunking dicky, when the frost is on the pumpkin that's the time for dicky dunking."


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 10-11-10 9:18 AM
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I would think you'd want the pumpkin not to be frozen if you're going to do that.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 10-11-10 9:21 AM
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I blame Boss Jim W. Geddes.


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 10-11-10 9:23 AM
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Losing money by the barrel on serious news has been tried, repeatedly.

Just because you can't make money doing something doesn't mean it isn't something worth doing. The Red Cross hasn't had a single quarter of profits since 1850.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 10-11-10 9:36 AM
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Is Fox News profitable? It's not obvious to me that it would be.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 10-11-10 9:37 AM
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This implies so, but not with much information.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 10-11-10 9:39 AM
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193 Personally, I try to stay quiet unless provoked by zany statements about press reform from the top down.

If it's my statement that was "zany", then you think it's easier to get bottom-up reform by convincing the average American to think critically and demand better? I wish I could think that was more plausible.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 10-11-10 9:39 AM
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199: Here are some relatively recent cable news numbers. Looks profitable-- more so than I would have thought.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 10-11-10 9:42 AM
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188: Oh, I don't really know. Honestly, I just find "Americans don't know/remember/care about anything" comments irritating.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 10-11-10 9:43 AM
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convincing the average American to think critically

For what it's worth, I am professionally obligated to believe that this is feasible.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 10-11-10 9:44 AM
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204: Oh yeah? What about vegetables?


Posted by: Eggplant | Link to this comment | 10-11-10 9:46 AM
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I think every political conversation on Unfogged should start with the realization that everyone here agrees that we are doomed, and the next several hundred comments will about deck-chair arrangements.


Posted by: Eggplant | Link to this comment | 10-11-10 9:49 AM
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+be


Posted by: Eggplant | Link to this comment | 10-11-10 9:49 AM
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The average American is not (yet) a vegetable.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 10-11-10 9:50 AM
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||
NMM to La Stupenda.
|>


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 10-11-10 9:51 AM
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206: I burn easily, so I want a chair in the shade. Near the bar.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 10-11-10 9:53 AM
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Is Fox News profitable? It's not obvious to me that it would be.

I don't know. How much money do you think you could make from dictating who gets picked as the Republican candidate in pretty well any election (and employing quite a few of them)?


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 10-11-10 9:56 AM
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205: can the average American think critically about vegetables?


Posted by: | Link to this comment | 10-11-10 9:56 AM
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208: You certainly can't teach this one reading comprehension.


Posted by: Eggplant | Link to this comment | 10-11-10 9:56 AM
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209: Oh!


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 10-11-10 9:57 AM
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I think we finally caught someone!


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 10-11-10 9:57 AM
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209: Before Wikipedia, I would have had to assume you were talking about a Mexican wrestler.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 10-11-10 9:59 AM
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Speaking of people and stupid, this is pretty funny. Note: TPM does not know the difference between a bullet and buckshot.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 10-11-10 11:52 AM
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It probably isn't funny if you are worried about the future and stuff. Otherwise, very funny.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 10-11-10 11:54 AM
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203: Honestly, I just find "Americans don't know/remember/care about anything" comments irritating.

You're going to have to draft a standard irritable reply to every poll of Americans that finds that a significant number of them don't know basic things that happened a mere two years ago, then (such as that TARP was passed under Bush, with the support of Republican leaders). I'm not sure what it would say: that you find the poll results irritating, I guess.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 10-11-10 12:06 PM
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Is Fox News profitable? It's not obvious to me that it would be.

From what I've heard, Fox News is extremely profitable. I don't think Newscorp doesn't publically They're very good at keeping costs low, and probably net a few hundred million a year. I'd estimate gross revenue from all sources at around $600-700 million, and maybe 200-300 million of that is profit. Way more profitable than MSNBC or CNN, and a significant moneymaker for Fox generally.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 10-11-10 12:08 PM
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Just pretend that was written in a way that somebody can understand. Anyhow, I'd started a sentence designed to say "I don't think Newscorp publically reports Fox News financials, so one has to guess."


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 10-11-10 12:09 PM
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219: Nobody has pushed the public on this because you can't argue both "this saved our asses from the Great Depression, Take 2" and "this is George Bush's fault."


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 10-11-10 12:16 PM
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222: I know. It introduces nuance.

For what it's worth, I've seen it pushed (corrected) a few times: on NPR not long ago, an on-the-street interview segment with various people had the reporter/interviewer pointing out to a man being canvassed on his views that TARP was passed under Bush, and the man (who'd said that he was unhappy with Dems because of the bank bailout, among other things) said, "Ah, good point. I stand corrected."

And David Gregory on Meet the Press routinely corrects guests when they gloss this matter. It's almost like a tic for him. Which, good.

I'm just in favor of disambiguation. Blame Obama, if you want to, for things that happened under his watch. Do not champion Republicans for positions they do not hold in the first place. Etc. The Tea Party's passion in particular trades on ignorance.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 10-11-10 12:33 PM
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You know, 40 years from now, it's going to be commonly accepted by everyone to the left of the John Birch Society that Al Qaeda never really existed

Will we remember the Muslim Brotherhood ?


Posted by: Tasseled Loafered Leech | Link to this comment | 10-11-10 1:18 PM
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A non-trivial part of the problem, also, is that people generally and Americans specifically refuse to take institutional reform seriously. Yes, I know most people here want to do away with the filibuster, but the problem goes much deeper: elections, basically. Elections simply are not adequate for accomplishing either of the tasks set them--representation and accountability--and by trying to do both at once, they fail even harder.

What need need is selection by lot, on a massive scale, used both to create representative collegial legislative assemblies and to staff quasi-judicial tribunals for accountability.

In conclusion, ATHENS 4EVAR, LACEDAEMON SUX!!!!!!!!!


Posted by: x. trapnel | Link to this comment | 10-11-10 2:16 PM
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225, ctd:
And to preempt complaints that I'm being unfair to accuse Americans as usually rigid w.r.t. institutions: compare to India, Brazil, or (perhaps the most legit reference point) the EU.


Posted by: x. trapnel | Link to this comment | 10-11-10 2:23 PM
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What need need is selection by lot, on a massive scale

WF Buckely, Boston phone book, Harvard Faculty. You may have a point.


Posted by: Tasseled Loafered Leech | Link to this comment | 10-11-10 2:31 PM
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Back to the OP -- this article raises some interesting questions about that NYT article, and what is really the cause of the bee deaths (via Kevin Dum).

http://money.cnn.com/2010/10/08/news/honey_bees_ny_times.fortune/index.htm


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 10-11-10 2:42 PM
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Oh man. I was just about to post that link.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 10-11-10 2:42 PM
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229: You still can.


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 10-11-10 2:47 PM
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I hear what you're saying. You want me to go redact your name from 228 and insert my own name in its place.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 10-11-10 2:49 PM
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231: Yes.


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 10-11-10 2:51 PM
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But you're worried that 229 will make us sound schizophrenic. I understand.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 10-11-10 2:58 PM
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OT: I've been too sick to run for over a week now. But, the illness-related lack of appetite combined with not thinking through the implications of "35% of your daily fiber" means I'm five pounds lighter than I was a week ago.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 10-11-10 3:09 PM
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234: You shouldn't rule out the possibility that you ingested some helium.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 10-11-10 3:35 PM
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234. Did you remember your two pound bag?


Posted by: Tasseled Loafered Leech | Link to this comment | 10-11-10 3:43 PM
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You're going to have to draft a standard irritable reply to every poll of Americans that finds that a significant number of them don't know basic things that happened a mere two years ago, then (such as that TARP was passed under Bush, with the support of Republican leaders)

Nope, because I am not irritated that polling says X number of people got such and such question wrong. I would quibble, though, quite vigorously with the conclusion that TARP is "basic" knoweldge. Frankly, if some pollster approached me on the street and asked who passed TARP, I'd probably flounder about a bit trying to figure out what "TARP" is. And reading a poll that said most Americans know less about TARP than a 5th grader, I'd wonder (per Witt's point above) exactly how the poll was conducted and whether the result is truly meaningful, much as I remain skeptical of standardized tests generally (though I personally do quite well on them). I'd do really badly on a pop quiz by a pollster calling on the phone while I'm eating dinner (in front of the TV), but if I had time to think through answers and maybe refresh my recollection with a google or two, I would likely do much better.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 10-11-10 3:46 PM
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Tarps rule. I have one on my tree fort.


Posted by: A 5th Grader | Link to this comment | 10-11-10 3:49 PM
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237: I've only read Di's comment (and not the rest of the thread), but, um, what's TARP?


Posted by: Parenthetical | Link to this comment | 10-11-10 4:16 PM
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I googled. That's really not basic knowledge. I mean, I read a lot about the financial crisis and the bail out and etc., and I neither knew that specific acronym nor would I have remembered the exact details of that bill. Frankly, I have better things to remember.


Posted by: Parenthetical | Link to this comment | 10-11-10 4:18 PM
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And to continue my serial commenting, what I mean by "exact details" is that I would not be able to recount things like the timeline or the administrative structure, etc. I know who was given money and roughly some of the amounts and who paid it back.


Posted by: Parenthetical | Link to this comment | 10-11-10 4:19 PM
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"neonicotinoid" is the best new word I've learned today.


Posted by: Nathan Williams | Link to this comment | 10-11-10 4:30 PM
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237: I would quibble, though, quite vigorously with the conclusion that TARP is "basic" knoweldge.

Certainly the acronym isn't widely known, but "the bank bailout" is, so you can substitute "bank bailout" in the pollster's question; all the "what's TARP?" questions now go away.

Question: Are you for or against the bank bailout? (or, Don't know)
Answer: Against.
Question: Who, if anyone, do you hold responsible for the bank bailout? [allows for any number of responses, but "Obama" is the wrong one]

I called it basic knowledge to distinguish it from wide-ranging historical knowledge (e.g. Who bombed Pearl Harbor?), and to indicate that it's something that happened within relatively recent, living memory, rather than something Mrs. Jenkins taught you in 5th grade. People who are (quite frequently) citing opposition to the bank bailout as a reason for their opposition to the Obama administration are indeed aware of TARP, but are clearly confused about it.

An open-ended question like, "Why are you opposed to Obama/the Dems?" that garners answers like "I'm against the bank bailout" reveals that people are operating in a state of confusion, which has nothing to do with whether they were having dinner in front of the television at the time.

I grant all the points about the trouble with pop quizzes, but are you really wanting to say that the polls are probably wrong -- polls that tend to show the same thing over and over again -- and people actually do understand more than the polls show? If only they could google?


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 10-11-10 5:01 PM
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Actually, forget all of 243. I'm listening to the MD gubernatorial debate, and the humorless is killing me.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 10-11-10 5:20 PM
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Well, kinda. I would not have been completely confident without googling about which administration bailed out the banks. Obama bailed out the auto industry or something, right? Do I think it's a good thing, or something to be proud of, that there is a shitload I don't know or wouldn't remember about current events? No. But, to steal from Paren, I've got better things to remember. Like figuring out my mortgage and the seepage in my basement and are Rory's vaccinations up to date and do I want a flu shot this year and does the intensity of her concern with the privacy of her email constitute probable cause and how do legislative changes or judicial pronouncements affect my clients and did I remember to answer that discovery. There's a lot of stuff to know and remember.

And I'm not really embarassed to admit that, when I get home tonight, I am going to pay way more attention to how the relationship between House and Cuddy is developing than to whatever the hell is going on in the world. Because I'm really kind of tired, and that's pretty much the mental energy I have to spare. Now, before I cast a vote or make a donation, will I make some effort to get informed? Well, yeah, sure. But I can't honestly say I have any better basis for deciding which sources are credible than more or less trusting the ones that seem consistent with my general biases. Of course I'm skeptical of the mainstream media. But I'm skeptical of alternative media, too. Because if House has taught me anything, it's: "Everybody lies."


Posted by: di kotimy | Link to this comment | 10-11-10 5:23 PM
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Everybody lies sometimes.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 10-11-10 5:30 PM
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Oh, sorry, 245 before I saw 244. Forget 245. Except for the last sentence, which is important.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 10-11-10 5:30 PM
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246: Sometimes everyone is wrong, and you have to play along.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 10-11-10 5:36 PM
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That's lovely, Di.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 10-11-10 5:36 PM
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[allows for any number of responses, but "Obama" is the wrong one]

He backed it as a candidate, never tried to modify it, has appointees who defend TARP in the media, most of the Congressional Democrats running in the election did vote for it. To my mind, you are asking people to make way too fine of a distinction.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 10-11-10 6:01 PM
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you are asking people to make way too fine of a distinction.

I understand. I'm just asking them not to believe that the bank bailout was a corporate sleazefest between Obama/Democrats and big finance, while the Republicans are the champions of the little guy. This should not be that hard. I took your point at 222, though.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 10-11-10 6:16 PM
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What bothers me is that Republicans are getting away with being the fiscal responsibility party. I find that a much better example of what you are trying to get at.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 10-11-10 6:22 PM
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Yeah, I have kind of been hammering away at the TARP thing. I'd hoped that what I was getting at was fairly clear: that the Republican-sponsored narrative is a false one, etc. etc. blah blah; but I'm rather flummoxed by the recently voiced claims that a person can hardly be blamed for being unclear on matters, what with having more important things to keep track of. I don't know what to say.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 10-11-10 6:37 PM
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Flummoxed? Seriously? By the idea that people have finite capacities for attention and recollection? Or that some people prioritize where to direct their attention differently than you?


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 10-11-10 7:27 PM
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254: I'm not surprised by it; of course it's the case. I just don't know what to say. I'd have to natter on about things like civic responsibility that would only further inflame, so I'm at a loss, and have to let it go.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 10-11-10 8:03 PM
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